Sure everyone knows about the Shimla-Kalka toy train route, but do you know about the toy train that travels through the gorgeous landscapes of Kangra Valley? Well, now you’ll know. By Japleen Kaur

I stayed in Shimla for months but couldn’t experience the magical toy train route but when I relocated to Bir, there was no chance I was going to miss the toy train ride here. And, that’s when I came to know that Bir is more than just a fantastic paragliding site.

The journey starts at Joginder Nagar, a village in Himachal and ends at Pathankot in Punjab. It crosses 10 stations and covers a distance of some 160 kms. Trains ply daily, and you can check the timetable for regular updates.

But, the views all along are something that will keep you wide awake. You’ll cross tiny villages with streams flowing by, wooden bridges straight out of a fairytale, and the glorious Dhauladhar ranges in the backdrop to complete the picture.

For INR 40 you can finish the whole journey, and you won’t get a better deal anywhere. The station, train, engine, and the locals are all just so beautiful and cute that you’ll have to pinch yourself to confirm that it’s all real.

Joginder Nagar is about half an hour away from Bir, and also the station where the train ride starts from. But, you can also board from Ahju that is around 10-15 minutes away from Bir — a secluded little station that looks gorgeous at all times of the year. You can also get down at Kangra station and head towards Dharamshala that’s only 20 kms from there.

Hawkers come and go selling you kick-knacks, making the journey even more fun. Kangra is also known for its breathtaking sunsets, and what’s better than watching one from the train that’ll take you back to your favourite childhood novel plots?

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